My brother Steve, Stephen Alton Wiebe, died recently of heart failure; he was 66 years old. Steve's wife, family and friends were around him at the end of his life, a life whose last years were painful and difficult. Steve, my older brother, is no longer suffering. I will miss him.
Ron Wiebe, my Uncle Ron, my Dad's youngest brother, died recently. I will miss him. He was a good man, a man of heart, a man who lived his life with passion, and shared his joie de vivre with everyone around him.
My mother, Celia Wiebe, has loved music for as long as I can remember. She often played music on the record player when we were growing up, mostly classical, and encouraged her children from their earliest ages to listen and to participate. She also sang around the house, and with her children; sometimes she sang solos or duets with my father in church. Her soprano voice sounded wonderful to me when she sang.
After many years on home brew hiatus, my son Jon and I have begun brewing beer together, now that he has finished his arduous post-grad studies and has time for something other than work.Â We have managed to brew two batches of beer so far, and a third is nearly finished conditioning.Â We have made all of the mistakes one can make starting out, but thankfully all of the beers are drinkable.
Glenn Jaeger passed away recently. Glenn's father Nick married my grandmother Edna Wiebe after my grandfather died. Getting to know Glenn and Carol was one of the blessings of that union for me. We moved into the neighboring school district just before my senior year in high school, and Glenn and Carol took me in that last year to allow me to finish high school where I had started. They treated me so kindly, much more kindly than an obnoxious teenager might expect.
When I was growing up, my father taught us a little ditty from his Mennonite boyhood:
Dar war ein Mann in Tode Loch,
Und kein er sahe Mann,
Und im dem letzen Stunden,
Hat er das Alpenkreuter gefunden.
Play the AlpenkrĂ¤uter song (vocals and piano)
It was a charming little tune, and I would sing or hum it on the off occasion during my youth. At no time did it occur to my father to translate or to explain the song, nor did it occur to me to ask. I suppose sometimes the music is captivating enough. Some time in my teens, my curiosity was finally aroused regarding its meaning and perhaps its place in Midwestern Mennonite culture, so . . .